How to buy a Filing Cabinet

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There are two basic types of filing cabinets.  Both are very effective at storing your paperwork but in a slightly different way.

Vertical filing cabinets have drawers that pull out and you store your paperwork from front to back.  These cabinets are generally deeper from front to back than lateral files.  Depending on the filing you wish to do, vertical files can hold letter or legal size file folders and are easy to access your paperwork.  These files usually come in two, three and four drawer configurations and most come standard with file bars to support your hanging file folders.

Lateral filing cabinets have pull out drawers but you insert your paperwork from side to side rather than front to back.  You do have the option to configure the inside of your drawers so that you can file from front to back but the most effective way to use a lateral cabinet is the side to side version.  Most lateral filing cabinets are 18” deep from front to back so they are not as deep as the vertical units.  Many manufacturers make lateral cabinets in three standard widths which are 30”, 36” and 42” wide.  The heights are two drawer, three drawer, four drawer and five drawer configurations.  With these drawers it is easy to access your files because they are at the front of the drawer and the drawers are on full extension glides so they roll out completely past the cabinet frame.

If you are looking for a cabinet that will last for years you should be considering metal filing cabinets.  Many manufacturers use 16 gauge cold rolled steel for the drawers and chassis because of its strength.  The feet have adjustable leveling glides on them so that the cabinets can be leveled on any type of floor to stop the drawers from rolling to an open or closed position.  Locking mechanisms are usually standard on both types of units from the manufacturer for added security however, as with most locks, if someone is determined to get into the cabinet they will.  The locks are small and light weight and could not fend off a crowbar and a person with great determination.

Often these cabinets come in black or grey as standard however, there are some manufacturers that can offer a huge range of different colours at no upcharge for being special ordered.  Generally this does not impact the lead time for receiving the product but most of these non-stocked items will take about six weeks minimum to get into your city.

Lateral and vertical files can be easily purchased from office supply companies or furniture dealerships in your city.  Most of these manufacturers have comprehensive warranties for one to five years.

Some manufacturers make these cabinets out of wood based products.  My personal opinion is that when it comes to storing files and dealing with the weight load contained within the cabinets, the superior construction material is metal.  There are some wood cabinets that are well made but over time they do not seem to be able to provide the durability required over a long period of time and use.  There are some companies that specialize in wood furniture and their laterals are exceptionally well made however, they can be up to twice the price of the metal versions.  So the next question to ask yourself is, how much you wish to spend.  If you want a wood office suite in your home then it would make sense to have the filing cabinets in a matching material.  It all depends on your budget.